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Israel Forsakes God

2 The wordn of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

“ ‘I remember the devotion of your youth,o

how as a bride you loved me

and followed me through the wilderness,p

through a land not sown.

Israel was holyq to the Lord,r

the firstfruitss of his harvest;

all who devouredt her were held guilty,u

and disaster overtook them,’ ”

declares the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,

all you clans of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,

that they strayed so far from me?

They followed worthless idolsv

and became worthlessw themselves.

They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,

who brought us up out of Egyptx

and led us through the barren wilderness,

through a land of desertsy and ravines,z

a land of drought and utter darkness,

a land where no one travelsa and no one lives?’

I brought you into a fertile land

to eat its fruit and rich produce.b

But you came and defiled my land

and made my inheritance detestable.c

The priests did not ask,

‘Where is the Lord?’

Those who deal with the law did not know me;d

the leaderse rebelled against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal,f

following worthless idols.g

“Therefore I bring chargesh against you again,”

declares the Lord.

“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.

10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprusi and look,

send to Kedara j and observe closely;

see if there has ever been anything like this:

11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?

(Yet they are not godsk at all.)

But my people have exchanged their gloriousl God

for worthless idols.

12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,

and shudder with great horror,”

declares the Lord.

13 “My people have committed two sins:

They have forsakenm me,

the spring of living water,n

and have dug their own cisterns,

broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

14 Is Israel a servant, a slaveo by birth?

Why then has he become plunder?

15 Lionsp have roared;

they have growled at him.

They have laid wasteq his land;

his towns are burnedr and deserted.s

16 Also, the men of Memphist and Tahpanhesu

have cracked your skull.

17 Have you not brought this on yourselvesv

by forsakingw the Lord your God

when he led you in the way?

18 Now why go to Egyptx

to drink water from the Nileb?y

And why go to Assyriaz

to drink water from the Euphrates?a

19 Your wickedness will punish you;

your backslidingb will rebukec you.

Consider then and realize

how evil and bitterd it is for you

when you forsakee the Lord your God

and have no awef of me,”

declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yokeg

and tore off your bonds;h

you said, ‘I will not serve you!’i

Indeed, on every high hillj

and under every spreading treek

you lay down as a prostitute.l

21 I had plantedm you like a choice vinen

of sound and reliable stock.

How then did you turn against me

into a corrupt,o wild vine?

22 Although you washp yourself with soapq

and use an abundance of cleansing powder,

the stain of your guilt is still before me,”

declares the Sovereign Lord.r

23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;s

I have not run after the Baals’?t

See how you behaved in the valley;u

consider what you have done.

You are a swift she-camel

runningv here and there,

24 a wild donkeyw accustomed to the desert,x

sniffing the wind in her craving—

in her heat who can restrain her?

Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;

at mating time they will find her.

25 Do not run until your feet are bare

and your throat is dry.

But you said, ‘It’s no use!y

I love foreign gods,z

and I must go after them.’a

26 “As a thief is disgracedb when he is caught,

so the people of Israel are disgraced—

they, their kings and their officials,

their priestsc and their prophets.d

27 They say to wood,e ‘You are my father,’

and to stone,f ‘You gave me birth.’

They have turned their backsg to me

and not their faces;h

yet when they are in trouble,i they say,

‘Come and savej us!’

28 Where then are the godsk you made for yourselves?

Let them come if they can save you

when you are in trouble!l

For you, Judah, have as many gods

as you have towns.m

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?

You have alln rebelled against me,”

declares the Lord.

30 “In vain I punished your people;

they did not respond to correction.o

Your sword has devoured your prophetsp

like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel

or a land of great darkness?q

Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;

we will come to you no more’?r

32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,

a bride her wedding ornaments?

Yet my people have forgottens me,

days without number.

33 How skilled you are at pursuingt love!

Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.

34 On your clothes is found

the lifebloodu of the innocent poor,

though you did not catch them breaking in.v

Yet in spite of all this

35 you say, ‘I am innocent;w

he is not angry with me.’

But I will pass judgmentx on you

because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’y

36 Why do you go about so much,

changingz your ways?

You will be disappointed by Egypta

as you were by Assyria.

37 You will also leave that place

with your hands on your head,b

for the Lord has rejected those you trust;

you will not be helpedc by them.


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